Arcade art / by Mario Mirabile

The Block Arcade off Collins Street is probably the most classically elegant of Melbourne's many heritage shopping arcades. Richly decorated with mosaics, wrought iron and sculptures, it houses many elegant and extravagant shops, including the fabled Hopetoun Tea Rooms

The owners are also patrons of the arts. A while back, I photographed the lovely Camille Hermans as she performed sublime operatic arias. Last week it was the supremely skilled Lewis Brownlie, who was in the process of drawing the arcade. Given the intricate detail of the surrounds, I imagine it's a difficult task under any circumstances. But when your canvas is a couple of metres wide, the task becomes as much a test of patience as of artistic skill. Lucas was four days into his opus when I had a chat with him, and not yet half done. I haven't been back to check on his progress for a few days, but he may well still be at it.